Institutional Revolutionary Party President Alejandro “Alito” Moreno. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

On Tuesday, June 14, a collective of former presidents of Mexico’s centralist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) – known for its lengthy dominance of Mexican politics and ousted from majority power for only the second time in history by the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) in 2018 – called for the resignation of current PRI president Alejandro “Alito” Moreno during a party meeting, a situation prompted by the party’s widespread defeat in June 5’s gubernatorial elections and demonstrating the party’s clear internal disarray. That event was followed by news that Alito is under investigation in Campeche for alleged financial crimes such as money laundering and tax fraud.

Among Moreno’s detractors were Roberto Madrazo, a fixture behind the development of the PRI president’s political career; César Camacho, president of the PRI throughout the Enrique Peña Nieto administration; Claudia Ruiz Massieu, who left her post as PRI leader in 2018; and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, former secretary of the interior. All were adamant that Moreno resign from his role after growing distaste over his management of the party, his recent public scandal with Senator Manuel Velasco, and the loss of PRI control from 12 states to three following June’s elections – the least control the PRI has had in Mexico in more than 70 years.

Some called into question Moreno’s control over the PRI in the Chamber of Deputies and National Executive Committee (CEN), leadership the former PRI presidents called “exclusionary” and without room for the input of other party minds.

At the meeting, Moreno relayed his refusal to leave his position as PRI president until the end of his term in August 19, 2023 – and likewise promised to remove himself from the running for president of Mexico. His fellow PRI members were less than enthusiastic about the response, clearly telling Moreno that they will railroad him at every turn and give him very little room to make decisions on behalf of the party.

While Moreno has yet to budge or pull away from his position, the meeting’s end showed the obvious discontent between Alito, his predecessors and the PRI itself. While Moreno asked all leaders to band together for a group picture and a joint statement to show the PRI’s unity, the former party presidents refused his request – just as he did theirs. 

“There was no demand for resignation; what there was were proposals, reflections, comments,” said Moreno after the meeting, playing coy on its motivations. “It has been a rich meeting, vast in proposals and analysis, because the PRI is self-critical, not self-flagellating.”

Now, as Moreno’s plights with the PRI continue to unfold, Moreno has been presented with further difficulties in his home state of Campeche, where the prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into Moreno’s purported crimes of money laundering and tax fraud.

While both the PRI and the Campeche Prosecutor’s Office’s quests to purge Moreno have only just begun and plenty remains left to unfold, one thing is overwhelmingly clear: The growing intention to oust Moreno from power is far from over.

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